Graduate Diploma in Mental Health Nursing Practice
What will I study?
What you will learn
The Graduate Diploma in Mental Health Nursing Practice provides an opportunity for nurses to develop proficient specialty practice.
You will learn to appreciate from a consumer perspective how to apply theoretical, critical and practical knowledge and understand the implications of providing care. This course will enable you to employ specialist nursing knowledge and skills to conduct comprehensive mental health assessment and develop meaningful formulations.
You will be able to exercise enhanced clinical judgment and decision-making and insight into specialist mental health nursing in pursuit of optimal outcomes for the person and family. You will apply scientific judgement and contemporary evidence from a range of sources (consumer reported, clinician-observed and research driven) to underpin the use of therapies, management of medication regimes and application of frameworks which inform mental health nursing practice.
To gain the Graduate Diploma in Mental Health Nursing Practice you must complete 100 points comprised of:
- Six 12.5 credit point core subjects
- Two 6.25 credit point core subjects
- 1 elective subject.
On average, it is estimated that students will be required to allocate 15-19 hours per week for ‘study’ time for each subject. However, the time commitment required can vary based on individual task management and planning skills, familiarity with the material, reading style and speed.
Explore this course
Explore the subjects you could choose as part of this diploma.
- Specialist Mental Health Nursing 12.5
Specialist Mental Health Nursing
This subject is designed to provide the theoretical foundation for entry into specialist mental health nursing practice. Students will explore the legal, policy and ethical frameworks, within which mental health care is provided. Students will extend their understanding of bio-psycho-social factors, related to mental health and illness and to the nosology within diagnostic structures of psychiatry.
- Assessment in Mental Health Nursing 12.5
Assessment in Mental Health Nursing
This subject is designed to develop assessment skills for beginning specialist mental health nursing practice. Skills from Mental Health Nursing 1 will be incorporated with specialist communication skills. Consumer and family perspectives of needs, health and illness will be integrated in the processes of assessment and the investigation of models of care in multi-disciplinary settings. This specialist knowledge will be applied to nursing assessment and care planning, relevant to the range of high- and low-prevalence diagnostic groupings.
- Psychopharmacology 12.5
This subject will provide students with the opportunity to expand their knowledge of medications used in psychiatry and to examine the role of the psychiatric nurse in psychopharmacological treatments. The subject allows students to develop clinical skills in relevant assessments and interventions for clients receiving psychiatric medication.
- Consumer Perspective: Theory & Practice 12.5
Consumer Perspective: Theory & Practice
This subject aims to extend participants foundational knowledge to support the development of clinical skills and expertise related to consumer participation in treatment and consumer involvement in mental health service delivery and review. The subject focuses on current State and Commonwealth directives supporting consumer participation in treatment and in service reform activities; consumer rights, and explores models of care that can enhance the consumer's involvement in treatment. The subject would be relevant for healthcare practitioners from nursing and allied health disciplines interested in consumer perspectives and participation in health and health services.
- Advanced Therapeutic Skills 12.5
Advanced Therapeutic Skills
This subject is designed to provide the theoretical and practical foundation for entry level therapeutic practice in specialist mental health nursing practice. Students will extend their understanding of the triggering and sustaining factors in psychological and social distress and crisis, associated with mental health and illness. Students will attain knowledge of evidencebased therapies and associated interpersonal nursing strategies and skills. The specialist knowledge will be applied to therapeutic nursing interventions, relevant to the range of high- and low-prevalence diagnostic groupings.
- Mental Health Nursing Practice 1 6.25
Mental Health Nursing Practice 1
In this subject students will apply theoretical principles outlined in each module to support comprehensive consumer screening, assessment, monitoring and care planning in mental health nursing practice. Students will apply current legal, ethical and policy frameworks to their clinical practice. Students will learn to incorporate knowledge and evidence of biopsychosocial factors influencing consumer and family/carer outcomes to inform their clinical decision making in practice and demonstrate sound clinical leadership skills.
- Mental Health Nursing Practice 2 6.25
Mental Health Nursing Practice 2
In this subject students will apply theoretical principles outlined in each module to support comprehensive consumer and family/ carer experiences, treatment and interventions in their mental health nursing practice. Students will continue to apply current legal, ethical and policy frameworks to their clinical practice. Students will continue to learn to incorporate knowledge and evidence of biopsychosocial factors influencing consumer and family/carer outcomes to inform their clinical decision making in practice and demonstrate sound clinical leadership skills.
- Evidence in Practice 12.5
Evidence in Practice
This subject is designed to meet the needs of nurses and other clinically-based healthcare professionals seeking further education in identifying and critically appraising research as evidence to inform their clinical practice. The subject aims to facilitate the development of knowledge and skills that will allow students to incorporate reliable and trustworthy evidence into their clinical decision making.
- Clinical Teaching and Preceptorship 12.5
Clinical Teaching and Preceptorship
This subject provides the learner with the skills and knowledge t provide and apply learning support systems in the clinical workplace. A variety of learning support models are explored and discussed including: mentorship, clinical teaching, clinical supervision and preceptorship. The major themes of the subject are the learning organisation, principles and practices of teaching, learning and assessing in the clinical practice with particular importance on providing learner feedback, the preceptor-preceptee relationship and creating a supportive learning environment.
- Child and Family Health 12.5
Child and Family Health
The focus of this subject is to utilise an ecological approach to understand the importance of family relationships when assessing, planning, and implementing the health care needs of children. The effects of social disadvantage on the child and family will be explored with special emphasis on families of children with special needs.
- Health Assessment for Advanced Practice1 12.5
Health Assessment for Advanced Practice1
The aim of this subject is to develop advanced health assessment skills in nursing that are relevant to the student’s area of clinical practice.
The subject provides the foundation for the development of health assessment knowledge and skills that are required in order to practice in an advanced practice nursing role.
The subject will explore diagnostic decision making processes taking into consideration factors that impact on health and health assessment outcomes, such as: age, gender, culture, socioeconomic status and life style.
Students will use a client focused approach to health assessment and apply a structured framework to guide health assessment. History taking, general examination skills, diagnostic testing and communication of assessment findings to the health care team and patient (written and verbal) will form the core content of the subject.
Students will have the option of selecting areas that are relevant to their own area of practice. These topics will include: cardiovascular, respiratory, neurological, cognitive and developmental, abdominal, alimentary and nutritional, genitourinary, musculoskeletal, integument and psychosocial assessment.
The subject will provide a number of strategies to assist the students in developing advanced health assessment skills. On campus tutorials and workshops, reading and resource material will be provided to assist students to develop the necessary knowledge and skills for advanced health examination and patient assessment. Students will use clinical mentors in their practice environment to support their learning, in particular the development of specialty assessment skills.
The subject is designed to support students in meeting the ANMC Competency Standards for Nurse Practitioners (2006).
This subject is a mandatory component of the Master of Advanced Nursing Practice Nurse Practitioner pathway.
- Advanced Nursing Practice in Context 12.5
Advanced Nursing Practice in Context
This subject focuses on knowledge and clinical skill development for an expanded scope of practice in an area of specialty practice.
The core content of this subject will include defining scope of practice and advanced practice nursing roles.
An exploration of advanced practice, expansion of speciality practice, and the role of the nurse practitioner including the regulatory, professional, ethical and practical influences on scope of practice will be explored. In this context, students will consider the implications of mentorship, clinical supervision and clinical governance models before embarking on a project that expands their own scope of practice.
The core content will prepare students to undertake a project that will allow them to apply relevant theory related to advanced practice nursing to their own specialty context. The project will expand their current nursing knowledge and skills to an advanced practice level.
The focus of the project will be on developing the capacity to apply evidence to nursing assessment and management strategies, developing sophisticated assessment, problem-solving, planning and technical skills for client groups that are specific to their designated specialty. For those students undertaking the NP pathway, the contract will include the development of advanced diagnostic reasoning skills, including the use of relevant diagnostic tools. Project development, implementation and evaluation strategies for the treatment plans that address specific extensions to practice will be incorporated in the project. The assessment, investigation and treatment plans should be client focused (eg. culturally sensitive, socioeconomically relevant, sustainable and negotiated with the client and other members of the health care team.
With collegial support from a multidisciplinary team and the subject coordinator, students will develop a learning contract to articulate their project. The ANMC Competency Standards for Nurse Practitioners and where relevant competency standards for advanced practitioners issued by specialty professional groups will be used to guide the project aim, contract development and completion. Students will demonstrate achievement of knowledge and skills described in the contract through compilation of a practice portfolio.
This subject will assists students to develop the capacity to identify their own clinical learning and development needs and access a range of resources to enable them to meet their objectives.
This subject is designed to support students to meet the ANMC Competency Standards for Nurse Practitioners (2006).
This subject is a mandatory component of the Nurse Practitioner pathway of the Master of Advanced Nursing Practice.
- Applied Pathophysiology 12.5
This subject provides a foundation for understanding the pathologic basis of disease across the lifespan.
It equips learners with the knowledge and skills required to explain assessment data and prioritise patient care in a specialty area of practice based on scientific principles.
Core pathophysiological concepts covered will include: cellular responses to stress; adaptation, injury and death; acute and chronic inflammation; tissue renewal and repair; infection; neoplasia; haemodynamic, genetic and immune system disorders and genetic predisposition to disease.
Using a case study based approach, learners will be provided with opportunities to apply their knowledge
in one or more of the following specialty areas of nursing practice.
- Paediatric Intensive Care
- Neonatal Intensive Care
- Critical Care
- Emergency Care
- Rural Critical Care
- Oncology and Palliative Care
- Advanced Trauma Perspectives 12.5
Advanced Trauma Perspectives
This subject critically examines contemporary trauma theories, including psychodynamic, narrative, and anti-oppressive approaches. It explores their application to working with individuals, families and communities in a variety of practice settings.
- Suicide Prevention 12.5
This subject explores the theoretical frameworks and available evidence in the field of suicide prevention, regarding the identification and assessment of suicide-related thoughts and behaviours. The subject will dually focus on theoretical knowledge and skills-based acquisition, with a focus on assessment and interventional strategies that are brief and evidence-informed. The language of suicide and definitional issues that exist within the field of suicidology will be explored, as will the ethical aspects of working clinically and undertaking research with suicidal clients. The impact and contribution of psychosocial issues to suicidal crises will be considered, as will the importance of professionals understanding the meaning of self-harming and suicidal behaviours, from the perspective of those engaging in the behaviours. This subject will primarily focus on the integration of theory and practice in assessing and responding to suicidality in the context of the Australian service system.
- Domestic and Family Violence 12.5
Domestic and Family Violence
This provides foundational knowledge in understanding domestic and family violence (DFV) and the intervention for workers in the human services sector. An analysis which draws from an ecological and a public health framing of the cultural, structural, relational and individual understandings of DFV informs the content of the course. An approach which recognises the gendered patterns of DFV and which also recognises the impact on children of living with violence and abuse provides the parameters of the subject. Issues of diversity will be woven throughout the subject.
Specific topics that will be covered include: prevalence and incidence of DFV and what this tells us about children, gender and intersectionality; risk assessment and risk management; accountability for men who use violence; strengthening the mother-child relationship in the aftermath of violence; supporting collaborative inter-agency practice; specific issues for child protection workers; the prevention agenda and strategies for earlier intervention.
- Early Psychosis in Young People 12.5
Early Psychosis in Young People
This subject will be provide a comprehensive, foundational overview of early psychosis in young people. Course content includes:
- The key features and phases of early psychosis in young people
- Genetic, environmental and neurobiological vulnerabilities to psychosis
- Engagement, assessment and management of young people at-risk of early psychosis
- Best-practice biological and psychosocial interventions for first episode psychosis
- The recovery process for young people who have experienced acute psychosis
- Early psychosis service models
- Engaging and Assessing Young People 12.5
Engaging and Assessing Young People
This subject examines some of the key foundations of youth mental health clinical practice, including assessment, engagement and case formulation. It explores a variety of frameworks and provides an overview of the concept of youth friendliness, which is pervasive throughout all youth mental health clinical practice and service level delivery.
The content includes:
- Fundamental principles and strategies underlying youth friendly practice
- Key assessment frameworks for young people
- Introduction to conducting risk assessments
- Introduction to case formulation and shared explanatory models
- Assessing the needs of families and primary carers
- Ethical and legal considerations in youth mental health practice
- Forensic Mental Health Nursing 12.5
Forensic Mental Health Nursing
This elective subject will introduce the specialty area of forensic mental health nursing, exploring the interaction between mental illness and offending, and the role of the nurse in custodial environments. It will provide an introduction to evidenced-based approaches to the assessment, formulation and management of risks, with a focus on therapeutic safety and security, and the legislative frameworks governing practice. The subject aims to facilitate the development of knowledge and skills that will allow students to competently and confidently work with mental health consumers with forensic histories in a variety of health care settings.
- Psychotherapy Essentials 12.5
Psychotherapy Essentials is designed to strengthen students’ mental health practice and complement existing clinical skills. This online subject incorporates consumer scholarship, psychodynamic concepts and introduces students to the common factors across psychotherapies from humanistic traditions. Psychotherapy Essentials equips students with a comprehensive, coherent and contemporary set of psychotherapy skills to support consumers personal recovery journeys. These skills are explored through topics integral to contemporary mental health, such as: trauma-informed care, recovery-alliance, attachment and neuroplasticity.